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Safari Clothing in Africa – Top Tips for Winter

Eastern cape safari with lion

One of the most frequent questions we are asked is what safari clothing should we pack? So I attempt to address this question with a blog at the beginning of each season. As our answer does vary quite a bit by season!

Safari clothing in South Africa – Winter

I have lived in South Africa for 25 years and I have noticed that South Africans tend to ignore the fact that we have a winter. However our guests, used to wall to wall central heating, certainly feel it.

During the winter, you will need to pack a range of clothing as what an African winter feels like varies considerably from place to place.

In the Cape, where the winters are Mediterranean – think Spain, Italy or Southern California – the hotels and lodges are reasonably well-equipped with underfloor heating and roaring fireplaces. But central heating is  unheard of.

Plus you might have some rain in the Cape so come prepared with a rainproof jacket.

The rest of the country (and the rest of Southern & East Africa) has a DRY winter season with pleasant sunny days. It is not uncommon for daytime temperatures to be a pleasant 25°C (77°F). So bring some lightweight shirts and t-shirts as well. But at night-time, you may find a hot water bottle in your bed.

However in winter it’s the daily temperature drop from day to night which throws safari visitors. As the sun sets, a warm day suddenly turns into a cool or cold evening. If you are dining outside in a boma, or on an open game vehicle driving back to camp, you will feel the cooler temperatures.

Similarly the days will start cold and warm up during the morning…

So if you are someone who feels the cold, come prepared!

What to wear on safari in South Africa – winter packing list

  • Sweaters and warm jackets for the start & end of the day
  • Lighter shirts, including short sleeves for the daytime
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Long trousers for the evening
  • Possibly 1-2 pairs of shorts if going to Kruger or KwaZulu Natal on safari
  • On Safari: Scarf, hat plus even gloves if you usually feel the cold. (I know you can’t believe it but it’s true!)

Some larger hotels have heated or ‘all-weather’ swimming pools so always bring swimgear. (‘All weather’ means that the pool is heated just enough to be bearable, but is not really warm!)

Plus Neutral colours (green, khaki, brown or grey) if you intend to do a walking safari

Download our Insider Guide to What to Wear on Safari below for the ‘full monty’ & useful packing lists…

Download our What to Wear on Safari Guide

An important part of planning an African safari is deciding what to wear, what to take and what to pack. Get the low-down here. Get our Free Guide here

Ginny Russell

Co-founder & Director

Hi I’m Ginny, I’m here to help you plan your ideal holiday experience

Other Southern African countries

Most of the above is meant for South Africa.

Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and parts of Botswana are in general much warmer than South Africa. BUT there are regions where the winter cold is also noticeable, especially in the evenings and early evenings. So so bring a warm jacket for the evenings and a hat to keep your head warm.

Specific areas where it is colder…

  • Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe
  • Okavango Delta in Botswana
  • Makgadikagdi Pans and Central Kalahari in Botswana (desert climates are always very cold in winter)
  • And much of Namibia, as it is a dry desert-like climate as well so that means cold evenings in winter.

Want More Info?– check out our more general article on What to Wear on Safari. Or download the full e-guide above.

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Safari Clothing for Winter – was written by Cedarberg Africa

Cedarberg Africa is a specialist tour operator for Southern and East Africa focusing on upmarket tailormade safaris for discerning and busy people. We make our money on the difference between our trade rates and the rates that are available to you, so that means that effectively all our years of experience and expertise comes free of charge…

Contact us if you’d like a tailormade safari quote.

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Ginny Russell

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Hi I’m Ginny, I’m here to help you plan your ideal holiday experience

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